Traces of Love 8
The moment they disengaged, Richard had that surprised look on his face while Maya had tears in her eyes overwhelmed with what she heard from Richard.
But she just hugged him again tighter despite the difficulty in their position, him being on a wheelchair. She kissed the top of his head and cradled it in her arms while still sobbing. She was so happy that she didn’t care anymore how they looked.
“Sorry Chard. I assumed again. Sorry nasaktan kita. Akala ko kasi… I’m sorry. Pero hinding hindi naman kita bibitawan, hindi kita iiwan. Dumistansya lang ako kasi akala ko yun ang nararapat. Hinding hindi naman kita maaaring iwanan. All these years I’ve never forgotten you, ngayon pa kaya. Ikaw lang kaya ang pinakaespesyal na tao sa amin ng mga anak ko. I’m sorry…”
Then he saw the relief on her face and the same look she had when he saw her on the train. Gone were those evasive eyes and tentative smiles he saw in her during her last visit to him at the hospital when Sunshine was about to leave and the smiles she gave her just awhile ago.
“Maya? I don’t understand?” He was happy but surprised at her sudden change in reaction.
“Kasi naman Richard, sana sinabi mo agad para hindi na ako nagisip ng kung ano-ano…” then she was teary eyed again.
“Sinabi? Ang alin? Hey…”
“I’m sorry akala ko kasi… basta masaya ako na wala ka naman palang asawa.”
“You know very well that I’ve divorced Alex a long time ago.” He looked at her incredulously.
“Hindi. Hindi si Alex. Yun Stephanie. Akala ko…”
“What? Maya naman…” He was surprised. It never occurred to him that Maya would assume that Stephanie is his wife.
“Kasi di mo naman siya pinakilala sakin. Akala ko. Atsaka Chard, nakita ko kung gano siya kalapit sa’yo ng pumunta siya sa hospital. She was apologetic. Parang may pinag-awayan kayo at inisip ko na yun yun dahilan kung bakit hindi mo sya magawang mabanggit. Akala ko nag-away lang kayo. Ayokong makasagabal. Tapos si Sunshine narinig nya si Stephanie na kausap yun isang doctor. Sabi nya dadalawin nya ang asawa nya. Pumasok siya sa kuwarto mo. Anong iisipin ko?”
“What? Wait… so even Sunshine thinks that way?”
“Oo, pero wag kang mag-alala. Wala naman sa kanya yun. She was very happy na nakilala ka nya. Di naman siya umaasa ng kung ano pa man.”
He looked at her sadly. He was dismayed that instead of just asking him, Maya assumed and believed her assumptions.
“Kaya pala she reacted that way. Kaya pala nagtampo sakin si Sunshine. Maya sana naman pinakausap mo muna ako sa anak natin. I could have explained to her, made everything clear to her. Sana di mo na sinabi sa kanya. I’ve been thinking of a reason why she didn’t agree when I asked her permission to court you. I thought ayaw nya sa’kin because I’m sick. I thought she didn’t like me for you. Sana ipinagtanggol mo man lang ako sa anak natin.”
“Richard wala akong sinabi sa kanya. She was the one who overheard Stephanie. How could I explain that to her. Hindi ko rin naman alam kung ano yun totoo. Nahiya naman akong magtanong sa’yo. At hindi ko rin alam that you talked to her.” she shyly glanced at him to see his reaction. “I’m sorry Chard. I’m so sorry.” she can’t stop her tears from flowing again.
Sensing how bad Maya felt, Richard set aside the hurt and pain he experienced the past weeks when he thought that Maya and Sunshine didn’t want him to be part of their lives.
He gathered her close to him and sat her on his lap.
“Hey okay na. I’m glad everything is clear now. Enough na. Kain na tayo. I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten eh.” He tried to make the situation light.
She managed to smile and wiped her cheeks.
They gave each other one more tight hug then Maya stood up to set the table.
Richard realized that they have nothing to eat anymore.
“Maya padeliver na lang tayo. Pinadala ko lahat kay Sky yun pagkain. Walang natira dyan.”
“Don’t worry dala ko siya Chard. Linagay ko na sa dining table mo. Ayusin ko muna ha.”
“Let me help you.”
“Wag na. I want to do this. Makabawi man lang sa’yo.” She gave him an apologetic smile. She still can’t believe how foolish she have been assuming wrongly.
“Di mo naman kailangan bumawi. Just being here now is more than enough.”He smiled at her.
“Hayaan mo na ako Chard. I feel bad for what I did. At least mabawasan man lang ang bigat ng pakiramdam ko.”
He just smiled. He knows it’s hard to argue with her.
She went near him again and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“Sorry na talaga Chard.”
“Stop saying sorry Maya. Okay na. What’s important is okay na tayo.”
“Yes. Okay na tayo. Thank you ha!”
They shared the seafood pasta and green salad Richard prepared earlier that morning.
Now they’re settled at the sofa beside each other while sharing the brownies Richard bakes so well. They were having it with coffee.
“Ang sarap mo talagang magluto Chard. I remembered when you used to bring food sa work before. Alam mo bang inaabangan namin lagi yun mga dala mo?”
“Oo kahit sina Direk kapag nakaschedule ka for taping noon, tuwang tuwa sila because lagi kang may food.”
“Ikaw rin naman. You feed us with your lutong bahay. Kaya nga I fell for your then.”
“Richard wag ka nga…”
“Yes it’s true. Maya we’re already old. Magkakahiyaan pa ba tayo?”
“Hindi naman sa ganun, kaso…”
“Maya we already have Sunshine, can I just skip my plan to court you and be on the next phase instead?”
Maya was getting giddy yet uncomfortable with where the conversation is leading to.
“Kinausap mo talaga si Sunshine? Nagpaalam ka?”
“Yes. I thought that was the right thing to do. Actually even Sky. But unlike Sunshine, si Sky pumayag agad. He keeps me company here kapag wala siyang pasok. Your son loves me Maya. Thank you for allowing him to come here.”
“Hindi ko alam na pumupunta siya dito. Pero Chard kahit noong bata pa si Sky favorite ka naman talaga ng anak ko. Actually pinagalitan nya ako kanina. Sinermunan ako ni Sky kung bakit daw ayaw kong pumunta dito. He insisted that I come here and I’m glad I did.”
“Sky did that? Dapat pala kay Sky ako magpasalamat.”
She just shook her head and smiled. She remembered how emotional and angry Sky was when he insisted that she visits his Tito Richard.
“Why are you smiling?”
“Wala. Naalala ko lang si Sky kanina. Parang mas kampi pa siya sa’yo kesa sa’kin.”
“Oh well, we spend more time together and he knows how much I care for you Maya. Alam nyang mahal na mahal kita and that you’re my life.”
“Chard naman eh.”
“It’s true Maya. All these years you’re the only one who could make me smile by just the mere thought of you, you’re the only one who gets me excited with just the sound of your voice. You’re the only one who made me want to see the brighter side of life again. At ikaw rin lang ang nakapagpaiyak sa’kin.”
“Ikaw rin naman eh. All these years wala namang iba. Kaya nga I was so happy na nagkita tayo. Alam mo naman kaya yun. Binuko na ako ni Sunshine sa’yo di ba?”
“Ah yes. Our daughter talks a lot like you and I’m glad she does. I learned many things about you.” He grinned teasingly.
“Naku pinagkakaisahan ninyo akong tatlo eh. Si Sky, si Sunshine tapos ikaw. Mali na ata yan ah.” She joked as well.
“I bet they were aware how lonely you were without me.”
“Ang yabang mo…” she tenderly pinched him.
“You’re denying it? Kasi ako I admit, my life had no meaning without you in it.”
“No hindi. Inaamin ko naman na I was lonely. Kaya nga dapat stop na tayo sa mga ganyan na usapin. Ang mushy mo Mr. Lim. What’s important is that we have each other now.”
“We have each other now?!?” He was surprised with what she said. He hopes he had the right understanding of what she said.
“Bakit ayaw mo? Di ba you said we’re old para magligawan pa tayo. Oh well siyempre gusto ko rin naman ma-experience yun pero sayang yun time…”
“Wait.. you mean… hindi nga? Really?… Oh my God! Talaga Maya?”
“Kung gusto mo… kasi gusto ko rin naman na eh. Hindi pa ba obvious?”
“Of course gusto ko. Oh God! You made me so happy Maya. So this means we are a couple now?” he asked her again wanting to make everything clear.
“Okay lang ba? Hindi ba parang ambilis?” Now she was tentative on whether to instantly level up their relationship or wait for a perfect moment to let that happen. She wanted it to be special.
“Maya mahigit 15 years na tayong naghihintayan, I think that’s long enough already. And wala nang bawian please. Let’s be together now. You already kissed me kanina and I’m sure you don’t go on kissing just anyone who is just a mere acquaintance. So siguro naman sign na yun na we are a couple now.”
She smiled. She blushed remembering how she kissed him awhile ago. She just hid her face on his chest.
“Sige pumapayag na ako. Matagal ko na rin namang gusto eh.”
“Me too Maya. I love you so much. I have never felt this way for anyone in my entire life.”
“Chard…” She can’t say anything anymore and she just hugged him tighter while leaning on his chest.
They just stayed in that position savoring the moment having been engulfed in each other’s embrace.
Richard repeatedly kissed Maya’s head.
He couldn’t believe how everything would turn out today.
“Chard… gabi na. I better go home now. Asan na yun kasama mo dito? What time will your nurse arrive?”
“Later Maya. He will just assist me to do my nightly rituals then uwi na rin yun.”
“Ha? You mean you don’t have anyone here pag gabi? What if there’s an emergency? What if may kailangan ka? Richard naman.”
“Sanay na ako Maya and besides malapit naman yun bahay ng nurse ko. He has a family too kaya he can’t stay here the whole night.”
“Pero delikado. You shouldn’t be left alone lalo na you are still recovering…”
“Then stay with me…”
“Kuya, where is mom? I can’t seem to contact her.” Sunshine was on Skype with her brother that evening.
“Ah busy lang si mom. May inaasikaso lang yun.”
“Akala ko she will sleep at your place.”
“Nasa work ata siya. Wag mo nang kulitin Shine.”
“Kuya kasi I want to ask her about her meeting with dad. Alam ko na they will see each other kanina. May news ka about that?”
“Wala Shine. Don’t ask mom na muna about your daddy. What I know is that they are okay now and getting along so well. Baka mapurnada if kulitin mo si Mom. You know naman si Mom ayaw nyang binibiro sya.”
“Kuya baka naman umasa si Mommy. I dont want her to get hurt.”
“She won’t get hurt Shine. Your dad loves her so much to hurt her. Basta let’s just trust them okay?”
“Whatever you say Kuya. Wait pala Kuya… Kwentuhan mo na ako about the girl you were mentioning.. si Bettina..”
And the inquisitive Sunshine now bothered Sky about his lovelife, totally forgetting about her parents affairs.
“Chard okay na yun pillows? Or do I have to add some more?”
“Okay na to Maya. Halika na dito. Let’s sleep.”
Maya decided to spend the night at Richard’s place. She got so worried after learning that he’s been spending his nights alone in his home. She called Sky and asked him to bring her things so she would have a change of clothes for the evening and the next day.
She plans to fix the schedule of his nurse so he’ll have someone with him starting tomorrow.
Sky happily brought her things and was even teasing the two when he arrived earlier. Richard pretended not to notice and Maya gave her son some warning glaring stare which just made Sky chuckle.
“Dun na lang ako sa sofa Chard. You won’t be comfortable if I’ll stay in your bed. Maliit yun bed mo.”
“No Maya. Kasya tayo dito. Halika na. Unless takot ka sa’kin.” he teased her.
“Mr. Lim of course I’m not. Atsaka I know very well na you won’t take advantage of me. We are also not drunk unlike the time we made Sunshine.” She tried to put up a brave front.
“And who said I was drunk then?”
“Richard tumigil ka nga. Usog ka na. Matulog na tayo kasi I am tired. Mahaba yun byahe ko this morning.”
“God you’re bullying me already… ”
“Tumigil ka nga.” Then she just gave him a kiss to silence him.
“Good night Mr. Lim. Sleep tight.”
Then she turned off the lights and snuggled close to him.
Richard smiled and hugged her tighter.
For the first time in many years, he would sleep with a contented heart and a genuine smile on his face.